Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bye-Bye, Business Page

A large part of the joy of photography is sharing photos with those who want to see them; for what good is a photo buried on a hard drive where no one can enjoy it?

When I was running my business, I thought it was necessary to share my photos on my Facebook business page. However, I always found it quite frustrating trying to jump through Facebook's algorithm hoops in an attempt to get my photos to show up in my followers' news feed.  As a result, I never really enjoyed running the page.

(For anyone who has never run a business page, FB shows you how many people have seen each of your posts.  Then they give you the opportunity to boost the post by paying them to show it to people.  I really don't understand exactly how it works, but I do know that if people don't start interacting with the post moments after it is posted, no one ends up seeing it.  That's why businesses are always nagging you to like, comment, tag, and share their posts.)

When I decided that I wanted to start shooting again, I hadn't made a decision regarding my FB business page.  I suspected I would end up going back to using it, but I haven't found that to be the case.  After posting a few photos and links, I realized that only a handful of people are actually seeing them.  So, I decided why waste my time?

Because 12 people out of 696 followers?  Seriously?...

Since making the decision, I've been struggling with where the heck to share my photos.  I already knew that I was going to continue posting them on my blog, just like I always have.  It seems like blogs are dying a slow death these days, but I still really enjoy keeping mine so I'm going to keep doing it.  So, if you ever want to see what I've been shooting, pop on over to my home on the internet and check out my photos!  I also decided to keep posting to my MWP Instagram Account, as I am a total IG junking and love using it.  If you're on Instagram, follow me (@michelewhitacrephotography)!  If you're not on Instagram, what. are. you. waiting. for???

Which brings me back to Facebook.  As much as I wish it wasn't so, Facebook pretty much runs the internet world and it just makes sense to use it to share photos.  If I'm not going to be using my business page, that leaves my personal one.

In the past, I was always hesitant to share photos because I didn't want to drive everyone insane.  I said as much to a friend recently and her response was that I was being ridiculous.  She said that when you chose to be FB friends with someone, you sign on for whatever they choose to post.  Her reasoning made a lot of sense to me and eventually ended up changing my mind about using my personal account to share my photography.  So consider this fair warning that I am going to start posting more images and blog links soon!

Michele Whitacre used to be a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona.  Now she just takes photos for fun when the mood strikes.
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© 2017 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Friday, May 19, 2017

I'm Back ~ Sort Of

There are a ton of reasons why I decided to close my photography business and perhaps one day I'll write about all of them.  For now, let me just say that I still believe it was the right decision and I have no regrets.  So, in response to everyone who has recently asked - No, I will not be re-opening my business or returning to shooting client sessions, but I do appreciate the inquiries.

I'm quite certain that I still wouldn't be shooting if Amanda hadn't asked me to take maternity photos for her a few weeks ago.  However, I've been having a lot of fun getting back behind the camera the past week and I'm so glad she did!  I think the extended break did me a lot of good and is allowing me to view my photography with a new perspective and I'm excited to say that I've decided to start shooting again.

Of course, I have no idea what I will be shooting.  Portraits have always been my thing, so if I'm not taking portraits I'm not exactly sure what I will be photographing.  But that's ok.  In fact it's great!  For the first time since I picked up a DSLR camera, I have absolutely no plans regarding my photography.

I do have a few thoughts percolating in my brain, but nothing I'm willing to commit to quite yet.  I think there is a possibility that I might resurrect my self-portrait project. I'm probably going to start taking more photos of my fur babies. I think I might do some google searches to see if I can find any fun photo prompts to get me thinking outside of the box and experimenting with some new things.  I'm also considering digging out a very long list I have tucked away that contains new photography techniques and photo project ideas, so maybe I'll revisit that blog feature, as well.  I might even do a few portraits here and there, too, but no promises. Then again, maybe I'll pick my camera up for a few months and then take another two year break. My only goal is to have some fun with it, which is something I'd lost sight of when I was always so busy with client photo sessions.

I will be posting the photos I shoot on my blog, as I really do enjoy blogging and I've missed it. I've also created an Instagram for my photography where I'll be sharing some of my images along with links to blog posts. (If you're interested in following, it can be found by searching for @michelewhitacrephotography on IG.)  I'm still not sure what I'm going to do regarding my photography FB page.  I'm not a Facebook fan and I tend to keep my personal profile deactivated most of the time, which I can't do if I want to still have my photography page.  So, the jury is still out on that one.  For now, I'm just going to enjoy getting back to taking some photos.

Stay tuned for some upcoming photos of my sweet kitties, Daisy & Gatsby, and for some fun blacklight scorpion images I'm working on editing.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

Michele Whitacre used to be a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona.  Now she just takes photos for fun when the mood strikes.
Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter

  © 2017 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Monday, January 5, 2015

Big Announcement: MWP is Going Out of Business

It is with very mixed emotions that I write this post, and I suspect it is going to be a long one, so you might want to grab yourself a glass of wine and make yourself comfortable.

If you're all settled in for the long haul, here we go...

I'm feeling an overwhelming need to start this post from the beginning, and since it's my blog I guess there's nothing stopping me from doing just that.  So, back to the beginning we go:

About a billion years ago (ok, maybe more like 11 years ago), I very briefly dated someone.  A few months later the best friend and wife of this someone moved into a house across the street from mine.  One day this couple saw me working in my yard and came over to introduce themselves and explain that we shared a mutual acquaintance.

Fast forward a few years, the couple had a baby and the wife bought a DSLR camera and started a blog to document her son's life.   At the time, I was very deeply entrenched in the blogging world and her blog quickly became one of the many that I followed at the time.  As it turned out, the wife was crazy talented with that camera of hers and before she knew it a senior portrait photography business had exploded for her, and her little ole blog about her son's milestones turned into a hugely successful, and widely read, photography business blog.  I fell in love with her style of photography and continued to follow her blog regularly as one of her many faithful readers.

Once again, fast forward a few years, and I found myself feeling bored and restless with my life, and filled with an overwhelming need to just do something different. Only I had no idea what that something different should be exactly.  So, I ended up enrolling in classes for an associates degree program at a local university.  I needed some elective credits, and I opted to take a photography class.

During my class, I had weekly shooting assignments, one of which was to take portraits.  While I enjoyed the entire class, it wasn't until the portrait assignment that a true passion for photography grabbed hold of me. I honestly think that all those years of following the wife's photography blog sort of gave me 'an eye' for portrait photography, and I instantly felt at home behind the camera while photographing other individuals.  When I turned in that particular assignment, my professor and fellow classmates were all stunned to learn that I was showing them my first attempt at taking portraits. They all encouraged me to pursue it farther, and I did.  I began taking portraits of every single person I could beg or bribe into sitting for me.  It didn't take very long and I was hooked!

Of course, I would have to fall in love with an area of photography that is impossible to do without other people involved.  I knew that taking portraits was what I really wanted to do, but I didn't see a way to continue down the portrait photographer path without having a photography businesses, so I immediately decided to start Michele Whitacre Photography.

At the time, starting my business was the best thing I could have done.  It renewed my passion and excitement for life as I became involved in learning something new.  It occupied hours (and hours and hours and hours and hours) of my time while my husband was busy completing his undergraduate degree, and later when he was consumed with law school.  It introduced me to a ton of wonderful and amazing new clients (some of whom turned into great friends), especially when I didn't know a soul after relocating to Phoenix. It got me out of my comfort zone and got me testing my limits as I taught myself new aspects of photography.  And quite frankly, it taught me a lot about myself.

Part of knowing myself, means knowing when it is time for a change.  As it tends to do while we aren't looking, my life (and consequently my needs) have drastically changed over the past 5 years.  The reasons that kept me moving forward with my photography business in the past no longer make sense with my current life.  So, I've made the incredibly difficult decision to close my photography business effective immediately.  I have been struggling with this decision for the past 6 months or so, and even now I'm not 100% sure that I am making the right one. But that's the way life goes, I suppose.

So now what?

The answer is that I really just don't know.  I do have a few sessions and events that I have already committed to during 2015, and of course, I will be honoring those commitments.  I'm sure I will be shooting some portraits and events in the future for family and very close friends.  I'll probably continue to shoot some fun concept sessions when the mood strikes and I can convince someone to model for me.  And I'm really looking forward to stretching myself and my photography skills in new ways.  There are a lot of other areas of photography I've been interested in learning more about, but just never had the time.  I'm also very interested in sharing what I know with beginner photographers, so I'm considering exploring my options for doing some teaching in the future.

While I have decided to close my photography business, nothing has changed regarding my love of photography.  I still have every intention of continuing to take photos, and I will be sharing the photos I take on my blog just like I always have.  (Although, I may end up closing down my business Facebook Page - the jury is still out on that one.)  So, I hope you will continue to join me for the ride.

As always, a HUGE thank you to every single individual who has been a part of my photography journey the past 5 years.  It has been an honor and a pleasure sharing in your lives, and capturing special moments and memories for you all.  You all rock!

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter

© 2015 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Best of 2013 | Portraits

Before embracing 2014 and all that it might have in store for me, I want to pause and take a look back at 2013.  It seems every year when I do these 'best of' posts, I include a little pep talk to myself about being ok with where I am in my photography journey.  I remind myself to be thankful for everything I do have, and to try not to fret about what I don't.  However, for once I feel like I don't need to do that this year.  It really been a great year for my photography, and as I enter 2014, I have to say that I'm right where I want to be!

So before I embrace a new year, here is a peek back at some of my favorite portraits, in no particular order, from 2013...

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter

© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Trevor Dayley's Photography Workshop {Take 2}

Yesterday I had the incredible opportunity to once again attend one of Trevor Dayley's Photography Workshops.  I have no idea how Trevor can make a 13 1/2 hour day fly by and feel like mere hours have passed, but he does it and does it amazingly well.  I think his obvious passion for photography, and for teaching others, is contagious and spreads energy throughout the group.

When I walked out of Trevor's first workshop, I felt like he had shared so much new information that I was never going to be able to process it all.  My brain was completely overwhelmed and exhausted, but in a Really. Good. Way.  I've spent the time since that workshop reviewing my notes and trying to make everything stick into my memory, but I kept feeling like I hadn't held onto everything that Trevor had shared.

But as I was sitting through the second workshop, I realized that I had actually absorbed a lot more than I thought. I was surprised to note how many changes I have incorporated into my business and how much my photography has grown in the 6 months since that first workshop.  Not to mention the huge boost in my confidence about both my skills as a photographer and my ability to run a successful photography business.

I will admit that it was a lot easier going into this workshop since I'd been through one before.  I knew what to expect from Trevor's teaching style, and I was prepared with my questions.  I knew what areas of the workshop I needed to focus my attention on the most, and I also learned the hard way to take more detailed notes for future reference.

During the shooting portion of the first workshop I concentrated on capturing as many photos as possible.  I felt like there was a camera in my hand and models posing in front of me, so I needed to be photographing them.  Plus, there were only 7 of us, which made it easy to get in there and grab more shots.  However, as I was going through the photos later, I realized that I didn't take full advantage of the opportunity that was in front of me.  I spent all of my precious time doing something that I already knew how to do.  Sure, I walked away with some fun photos, but I didn't learn as much as I could have.

This time I took a completely different approach to the shooting portion, which I think will help me grow going forward.  I spent my time simply listening to Trevor and trying to absorb everything I could about how he interacted with the models we were working with.  I also concentrated on getting answers to the questions I had about shots that I struggle to take.  I spent my time putting myself in the situations that tend to give me trouble, and asking for help about how to do it better. Many of the other photographers were able to answer my questions and it was a great environment to learn in.

While I was listening, I did amuse myself by taking a few photos of Trevor teaching, and everyone else shooting.  So here is a bit of a behind the scenes look at the workshop...

Here Trevor is showing the models one of their photos, and just look at their smiles! This was one of the big things I took away from Trevor's last workshop. Showing clients their photos on the back of my camera throughout the session is HUGE.  It goes a long way toward reassuring them that their photos are turning out well, and helps them relax...

Trevor is such a patient instructor! Here he is explaining something to another photographer...

Another photographer showing our models a photo, and look - more smiles!...

We also experimented with off camera flash at the end of the shooting portion of the workshop.  While the couple was busy modeling in front of one lighting set up one of the other photographers jumped in to model for the rest of us in front of the second one.

Isn't she just too cute?!...

This time Trevor did get a group shot of all of us at the end of the workshop! Here we are...

I know that this second workshop is going to help prepare me for bigger things in the future.  After spending the day with Trevor I feel completely re-enerigized and ready to incorporate the new things I learned into my photography and my business.  I can't wait to see where I am 6 months after this workshop!

I said it after the last workshop, but learning from Trevor is such an awesome experience!  If you are a photographer I would encourage you to grab any opportunity you have to attend one of his future workshops.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter

© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Photography Goals | 2013

But first....

I'd like to take a brief glance at my 2012 goals and review how I did.

Last year I declared 3 photography goals:

1. Dedicate more time to photography
Perhaps I should have been more specific in declaring this goal, but what I meant was dedicate more time to getting my photography business up and running after our relocation and to start accepting clients again.  I did reopening my shooting schedule in early April 2012 and continued to do sessions throughout the year, so I'm declaring this goal a success! 
2. Get outside of my comfort zone, and start exploring more areas of photography
Again, I wasn't super specific, but my intent with this goal was to gain experience with other types of photography: nature, landscape, food, architecture, abstract, etc. With the exception of a couple of coward's attempts at street photography, I must admit that I really didn't make much progress on this goal in 2012. But no worries. It reappears slightly altered in my 2013 goals.
3. Create more emotional and symbolic personal photographs
When I added this goal to my list, my intent was to try to create personal photographs that moved people. I wanted to create images that provoked an emotional response for my viewers. I got down to business with my self-portrait for January 2012. And I provoked an emotional response, all right. I posted this image and ended up getting phone calls and emails from friends and family more or less asking me if I was suicidal.  After repeatedly reassuring everyone I know that the image was staged and meant to be dramatic. (Notice that only ONE eye has tears coming out of it.) That I wasn't really crying (even though the feeling behind the image was real, it was a horrible time in my life, and I had been doing more than my fair share of crying off camera).   And that I wasn't planning on doing any bodily harm to myself.  I decided that perhaps this goal should be set aside for the greater good of everyone who knows and loves me.

OK. Moving on to this year's goals. Last year I didn't get around to declaring my goals until February, so I'm already ahead for 2013.  Look at me go.

2013 Photography Goals

1. Blog more

I know some people who keep a business blog view it as a bit of a chore, but I actually enjoy blogging.  I like writing and I loving sharing my photos, so my thinking is why not spend more time doing something that I actually like to do?  Especially if it can potentially help grow my business!  Blogging more will also have the natural added benefit of keeping me behind the camera more regularly since a photography blog pretty much demands to be filled with new photos.

2. Do more good

I've been thinking a lot recently about finding a way "do good" using my photography.  I'd like to volunteer my services to an organization that I feel would benefit from it.  I'm still not exactly sure what I want to do but I'm leaning towards finding an animal shelter that needs photos of the animals up for adoption or perhaps a service that offers free family portraits to families with sick children.  If you're reading and know of a worthy organization to fit either category, I'd love to hear about them!

3. Feel the fear

Growth does not come from sticking with the status quo. In order to expand my abilities and my creativity, I'm going to have to force myself to get uncomfortable. I'm going to have to feel the fear that comes with the uncertain and the unfamiliar. Only then will I begin to experience true growth. What this means for my photography is that in 2013, I am going to stand on the ledge, look into the deep abyss of everything I don't yet know or understand, feel the fear of all that unknown, and then jump in with both feet, trusting in my ability to succeed.

4. Get some guts

I've been talking about wanting to try my hand at street photography, but I just haven't been able to get up the guts and do it. That is going to change in 2013!

And there you have it. My goals for 2013. It is going to be my year to soar!

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter
© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Best of 2012 | Portraits + Furry Friends

As 2013 makes its grand entrance, I find it impossible not to look back and reflect on the year I am leaving behind. This is a common theme in my world every new year so if you were here for The Best of 2011 a lot of what I am about to say will probably sound somewhat familiar.

I'd be willing to bet that if I asked those people who know me best to come up with some words to describe me, hard working, over achieving, critical and perfectionist would probably rank somewhere in the top 10. While those qualities have served me well and gotten me through many challenges, they also tend to be a bit of a curse.

In so many areas of my life I am my own worst critic and I find faults where none really exist. Instead of celebrating the many successes, I dwell on the few failures. Instead of recognizing the massive accomplishments, I fret over all that is still left undone. Instead of feeling proud of all that I now know, I feel shame over everything that is still left to learn.  No where is this more apparent than in my pursuit of my photography business dream.

As DSLR cameras become more affordable and information about how to use them becomes more readily available, more and more professional photographers are hanging out their shingle every single day. It can be a tough market to compete in, and sometimes it can be so tempting to compare my work to that of others and feel that mine falls short.  It can be difficult to watch other's businesses appear to take off virtually over night, while I'm left dreaming of the day that mine will do the same.  And some days it is impossible not to wonder if I should just give up the dream and call it quits.

I think it is important to stop and remind myself that no matter where I am on my path, there will always be people who are better off than I am and people who are worse off than I am.  The important thing to concentrate on is my own growth, and the best way for me to do that is to look back at all that I have accomplished this past year and realize just how far I have traveled.

I set out at the beginning of 2012 to try to realize that I am enough and I deserve to be successful in my photography venture, and in life.  I actually wasn't sure if I would ever manage to accomplish this goal, but I can honestly say that I have finally reached the point where I do feel like I am enough.  I am talented enough.  I am creative enough.  And my photos are good enough.  It's been a long, hard, uphill hike to get to this point in my photography journey, but I finally made it.  Whew!

I've recently begun to realize that the real joy in life must come from the journey, not the destination.  Because let's face it, there is no final destination.  Life isn't a race with someone standing at the end of it to let me know where the finish line is located.  No matter where I am along the path there is always something greater to aspire towards.  If I can't celebrate the success along every step of the way, happiness will forever be out of my grasp.

The goal for 2013 is to concentrate on finding the joy in the journey.  I need to learn how to be content with the fact that my facebook page has 500 likes instead of depressed by the fact that it doesn't have 600.  I need to be happy when I get 1 comment on a blog post instead of upset that I didn't get 10.  I need to be thrilled at the opportunity that I am given when a single client chooses me to capture their special memories instead of upset that several more aren't waiting in the wings. Because let's be honest, spending my life doing nothing but reaching for that next number is a recipe for a never ending cycle of disappointment.

To start the year off headed firmly in the right direction, please join me as I find the joy in some of my favorite portraits of 2012, in no particular order.  I'd like to send a HUGE thank you to all of these wonderful and amazing individuals, who allowed me to capture these images and to share a special moment with them and their families.

I didn't take as many pet photos in 2012 as I did in 2011 so I didn't think my furry friends needed their own post this year. Below are a few of my favorite pet portraits from 2012, in random order...

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter
© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC